SONGS OF PRAISE 005: I Don't Belong

I apologize for the screwy schedule on the Songs Of Praise posts. The next one is scheduled to be up by February 22nd.

While going about general day-to-day activities, there are many inner dialogues that bounce around in the caverns of my mind. One of the biggest ones is my relationship to the music of my youth. Many minutes have been spent mulling on the chicken-or-the-eggness of it all. The whole “Did I find it or did it find me?” question. Was my identity shaped by this stuff? It’s usually then someone behind me beeps and I make the left turn just in time.

I’m quick to react; the most easily riled person with nothing to back it up. Sometimes I catch myself acting as my own self-appointed Tipper Gore blaming my attitude on this goddamn music. But then I think back to how young I was when I first heard it and doubt it. Kids are pretty fickle and if they don’t like something, they just don’t like it. I mean, broccoli? Am I right? (tough crowd…)

“I Don’t Belong” the opening cut from Boston’s Jerry’s Kids 1983 debut LP Is This My World? is a song that provokes the same reaction out of me as it did in my days of short pants* and lollipops. The anticipation-building opening shards of feedback that lead into Rick Jones’ brown-inducing bass line is still one of the most electrifying moments in sound to my filthy ears and when everything starts to careens into hyper motion, it’s tough not to burst like a ConSec employee. In front of the constantly shifting tempo, the message is a succinct antisocial call to arms that will forever swell me with pride and make me wanna either stake what little I can claim or deadlift an Escalade. 

Case In Pernt: 

The other day at work, I stupidly accepted a phone call from an unknown number. The person on the other day was quick to inform me they were calling from some generic-sounding law firm representing a debt collector that I apparently owe a ridiculous amount of money to. Listen, I might be a middle-aged man who sits around in the middle of the day writing shit like this, but since I have so little money, I know my financial history. They began to tell me it was linked to a credit card I never had (wrong-o!) and an address I lived at over ten years ago (right on that one!) “First off” I said through gritted teeth, “even if this account existed, it’s over the statute of limitations to collect”. She said something quickly about how that doesn’t matter once it’s passed off to another entity. “Well, either way, this account never existed, this is extortion” I replied. She then told me that I was refusing to pay this fictitious debt and they will be serving me with papers soon. This is when I asked the person to repeat everything spieled at me at the start of the phone call to which they answered, “No, it’s not my fault you can’t retain information”. This was the point you could have fried an egg on my shiny bald head. 

I reared my head back and said I am not refusing to pay, just asking for more clarity on the matter. But after that was stated, I unloaded asking how it felt to be such a scumbag extortionist at some ratfucker law firm. It was then they screamed, “YOU’RE ON A RECORDED LINE AND WE WILL SEE YOU IN COURT!” and hung up.  

The whole ordeal had me shaking. Even though there’s no way this debt exists, the fact some stranger can just penetrate your life like that with a mere phone call is frightening, but I got through the day. A few hours later, “I Don’t Belong” came on in my shuffle and it was like a wave crashing down upon me. Not only was it a needed listen in general after dealing with some beef sniffer, but it ground the point home on where the barriers lie between myself and “them”*. Whether it's the fault of the music or my own self-manifested stank attitude, the world of adults screwing each other over to survive is something I can’t comprehend. And I don’t mean that from a moralistic or societal frame of mind. It’s up there with Gravity’s Rainbow, trigonometry and Rick & Morty in things I just don’t get. This leads to a disconnect with more or less eighty percent of the people I have to deal with on a regular basis. Would I trade human connection for music? I think I might have done that already by default. 

But people who have the stamina to take in something so blinding and purifying as “I Don’t Belong” time and time again? Sure, they’re welcome to the BBQ anytime. Just don’t bring any more bulgur chili. We have MORE than enough. 

  • = short pants, not hot pants. Shut up

  • = “My War” 

THE SECOND EPISODE OF THE SANDPAPER LULLABY PODCAST WILL BE UP THIS SUNDAY FEBRUARY 9th AT 12 NOON EST. OUR GUEST WILL BE ARI KATZ OF LIFETIME, ZERO ZERO, BEACH RATS AND MANY, MANY OTHER BANDS. IT’S A FUN TALK FULLA DANCIN’, DIVIN’ AND GOOD TIMES.

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